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Tunisia Issues Banknotes Honoring First Female Doctor In North Africa & The Region

Meet the Dr. Tawhida Ben Cheikh...

Tunisia just issued ten dinar ($3.5) banknote featuring Dr. Tawhida Ben Cheikh's portrait, which makes her the world’s first female doctor to be honored on one. It's not the female trailblazer's 'first', she's considered to be the first female doctor to have practiced modern medicine in North Africa and possibly in the entire region.

Born in 1909, Ben Cheikh was the first female to pass the baccalaureate in 1928 in Tunisia and she continued her studies at faculty of medicine in Paris in 1936. When the female doctor graduated in 1936, at the age of 27, Ben Cheikh struggled to practice and had to wait until 1955 to finally become head of Tunisia’s maternity department of Cahrles-Nicolle Hospital.

She specialized in women’s medicine and gynecology and worked tirelessly for charitable organizations, and when family planning had been legalized in Tunisia in 1973, Dr. Ben Cheikh was the Vice President of the Tunisian Red Crescent.

Her major career milestone is when she encouraged the use of contraception, held pro-choice abortion campaigns, and founded Tunisia's first women's health and family planning clinic. Especially when medical personnel faces challenging times ahead, Ben Cheikh's tribute feels extra special and needed...

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